Horizon Reports – emerging technologies for higher education

Horizon Project is a collaboration between the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. Since 2004, they produce reports on emerging technologies that “will impact higher education within three adoption horizons over the net one to five years.”

Last year (2007 Horizon Report) , their report touched user-created content and social networkings and projected this adoption in one year or less. The adoption mobile phones for education & learning and using virtual worlds as learning spaces were projected in two to three years. The new scholarship & emerging forms of publication (new models of publication and nontraditional scholarly products) as well as multi player educational gaming time-to-adoption were projected in four to five years.
This report can be found at http://www.nmc.org/horizon/2007/report

Recently, they just produced a new report (2008 edition) that touched several key emerging technologies to be applied to teaching and learning:

  • Grassroots Video: better and cheaper (if not free) tools allow the creation of educational videos and disseminate them quickly. No need to rely on an exclusive group of professionals and on expensive equipments or infrastructure.
  • Collaboration Webs: using web-based collaboration tools for teaching/learning and research activities.
  • Mobile Broadband: more powerful personal devices and can be used to access the educational content.
  • Data Mashups: combining data from different sources and producing new datasets.
  • Collective Intelligence: knowledge and understanding that emerges from large groups of people. This is facilitated by the collaboration webs and utilizing the data mashups.
  • Social Operating Systems: connecting people through network. The organization of the networking would be around people rather than around content.

This year’s report can be found at http://www.nmc.org/publications/2008-horizon-report

Most of the items mentioned above are probably already implemented at least on personal or group level (think YouTube, GoogleDocs, iPhone, or wikipedia.com.) Utilizing similar technology for teaching and learning does present some challenges especially in the area of assessments, policy, growing expectations, and changes in infrastructure.